Government seeks to address mental health afflicting youth

THE NATIONAL government is intensifying its efforts in funding programs on mental health, particularly in addressing suicide.

Based on the National Youth Assessment Study in 2015, Jenivie Anne Ramirez-Salmo, officer-in-charge of policy, research, monitoring and evaluation division of the National Youth Commission, one in four of the respondents surveyed “has thought that life is not worth living.”

The concerns on mental health are new in the agency’s study with 2,762 respondents aged 15-30 years old, which was presented during the consultation on Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP) on Wednesday at the office of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources XI.

“Basing on the results, 25.7% of the respondents once thought life is not worth living. At least 14.2% considered and started committing suicide while 20% experienced extreme emotional stress,” Ramirez-Salmo said.

A total of 77.7% of the respondents, she said, favored seeking professional counseling.

To address the concerns on mental health, Ramirez-Salmo said they include in the 2017-2022 PYDP on the need to enhance programs such as counseling and necessary interventions for the youth.

“This was not a priority before but we are now addressing this as there are now more youth who suffered from depression,” Ramirez-Salmo said.

The PYDP also included the need to bolster programs to combat illegal drugs.

In NYC’s National Youth Assessment Study as of 2015, about 4.5% of the respondents bared that they tried any illegal substance. A total of 47.3% of the respondents have knowledge of illegal substance.

“More than half have still little or no knowledge of illegal substance. We need to boost the information-education campaign,” Ramirez-Salmo said.

The need to address the concerns on mental health and issues on illegal drugs is part of the PYDP 2017-2022.

“The PYDP 2017-2022 shall serve as the blueprint and guiding framework for national and local government agencies, as well as the Sangguniang Kabataan, and civil society organizations in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of youth development programs and policies,” Ramirez-Salmo said.

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